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  • Updated: 05/04/04


    PORT CLINTON, Ohio (April 30, 2004) — Pro Carl Grunwaldt of Green Bay, Wis., and co-angler William Vogel of Lafayette, Ind., jumped to the head of the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour pack with a five-walleye limit weighing 33 pounds, 8 ounces when fishing resumed Friday at the $401,750 tournament presented by Yamaha on Lake Erie. The duo leads 10 pros and 10 co-anglers into Saturday’s final round after 35 mph winds and a U.S. Coast Guard Small Craft Advisory forced the cancellation of Thursday’s competition.
       This is the second of five RCL Tour events featuring the world’s top walleye pros and the sport’s largest payouts. The winning pro earns $90,000, including a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha, and the winning co-angler pockets $15,000 based on the heaviest two-day catch weight. 
       Grunwaldt and Vogle caught seven fish and lost two Friday while trolling spinner rigs off the north side of Kelleys Island, an area that was a popular target on opening day as well. Grunwaldt estimates that 15 of the 20 boats competing Friday were also in the area. 
       “We had two big fish right away and then a couple of small fish,” said Grunwaldt, an RCL Tour veteran who earned two top-10 finishes last season. “After that we went a few long hours without a bite. We are doing something a little different than the rest of the guys, but I’m not going to play it safe.”
       Grunwaldt and Vogle entered Friday’s semifinal round as the No. 9 seeds after catching five walleyes weighing 30 pounds, 13 ounces on opening day.
       “It was a pretty tough day, so this feels good,” said Vogle, who finished 11th at last season’s Lake Erie stop. “We need all of the cushion that we can get.”
       Rounding out the top five final-round qualifiers are pro Dennis Jeffrey of Garrison, N.D., and co-angler Thomas Bower of Macedonia, Ohio (five walleyes, 27 pounds, 14 ounces); pro Jason Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis., and co-angler Keith Keivens of Toledo, Ohio (five walleyes, 25 pounds, 4 ounces); pro Thomas Nordyke of Newport, Mich., and co-angler Charles Dahl of Burlington, Wis. (five walleyes, 25 pounds, 3 ounces); and pro Scott Allar of Welch, Minn., and co-angler Chester Jones of Michigan City, Ind. (five walleyes, 24 pounds, 4 ounces).
       Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired, and cash awards are presented to the top 60 anglers in each division. A total of 348 anglers representing 22 states and Canada participated in the tournament. 
       The final takeoff starts at 7 Saturday morning from Catawba Island State Park in Port Clinton, and the final weigh-in starts at 4 p.m. at the Wal-Mart store located at 4070 E. Harbor Road in Port Clinton. 
       Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour anglers compete in four regular-season tournaments in their quest to qualify for the $1.4 million Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship on the Mississippi River in Moline, Ill., Sept. 29-Oct. 2 where the world’s top pros will fish for as much as $400,000 cash and co-anglers will chase as much as $150,000 cash. The total purse for the 2004 RCL Tour is $3.19 million. 
       FLW Outdoors administers the RCL Tour, which is named after boat manufacturers Ranger, Crestliner and Lund. FLW Outdoors, the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing, is named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood. Other FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails include the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League for weekend anglers; the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world’s most lucrative bass-tournament series; the EverStart Series, designed as a pathway to the FLW Tour; the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League for weekend anglers; and the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail.
       Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. 
       For more information about the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.

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